Ian Seath (Breed Council Chairman) and Helen Geeson (Education Coordinator) were asked to write an article about our approach to using the Kennel Club’s A2 Assessment Process. The article is reproduced below:
Since its introduction, Dachshund Breed Clubs have promoted the use of the A2 process for up and coming judges. This article explains why it is a key element of our Breed Education Programme, hopefully to encourage more breeds to do the same.
What is the A2 process?
The A2 process enables a Breed Club to identify up and coming judges’ suitability to award Challenge Certificates (CCs) through assessment at shows and/or seminars in a competitive judging environment. A judge must have passed three A2 Assessments, received sponsorship from a Breed Club and be approved by the Kennel Club in order to be included on the Breed Club/Council’s A2 Judging List.
How the Dachshund Breed Clubs use the A2 process
The A2 process has always been an integral part of our Breed Education programme, which comprises seminars, assessments and a mentoring system.
There are two levels of seminar: basic and advanced. The basic level is purely educational, led by experienced breed specialists who have awarded CCs at least once in each of the six varieties of Dachshund. The advanced level builds on the educational elements of the basic but also allows participants to take the breed’s written assessment paper and an A2 assessment.
The A2 assessment takes the form of a class where 5 dogs have to be judged, placed and critiqued. The second form of A2 Assessment is mock classes which can be organised at the end of a Breed Club show. Candidates judge two classes of 6 dogs and provide verbal and written critiques to the Assessors.
The Dachshund Breed Council has stipulated that at least one of the three candidate assessments must take place at a seminar or a mock class. The other two assessments are done at shows; typically Breed Club Open shows or Championship shows where the candidate is judging without CCs.
Helping the candidates
Seminar or mock class assessments normally have two Assessors. They have to agree on each dog’s qualities and an overall class order, thus ensuring consistent assessments between candidates on the day. At show-based assessments, if there are two assessors present, we encourage them to discuss their observations, but there is no requirement for them to agree fully.
Feedback to candidates after show-based assessments, seminars and mock class assessments is usually given by an independent Assessment Coordinator.
Readiness for A2
There is no point in putting candidates forward for A2 assessments before they have the necessary knowledge or experience. We require people to have judged at least 150 Dachshunds before they can apply.
The Dachshund Breed Council has tried to keep the acceptance criteria simple. Potential candidates can request an assessment by contacting any of our Breed Club Secretaries. We also have a Breed Mentoring Scheme which is designed to help exhibitors, prospective judges and more experienced judges understand correct Dachshund construction, temperament, movement and breed type and to support the education of individuals in the breed.
Breed Mentoring Scheme
The Mentoring Scheme has been in existence for a number of years and has recently been updated to provide even more benefit to individuals who choose to be mentored. The scheme is voluntary, however, mentees who show particular promise will be highlighted on the Breed Council Judging List and are more likely to be asked to judge at Breed Club Open Shows. A three tiered approach is used to help tailor the scheme, with an increasing level of input from mentors as candidates moves up through the tiers. This gives candidates a balanced view of the breed whilst ensuring that by the time they reach the A2 Assessment level they have as much knowledge as possible.
Mentoring consists of ringside sessions watching classes of dogs and discussing their conformation, movement, temperament and breed type. Where possible, mentors will try and arrange opportunities to go over dogs after judging to help explain the finer points and extend their knowledge to the mentee. Breed-specific information regarding the Breed Standard, health and welfare, critique writing, ring procedure and stewarding is also provided.
Mentors are chosen from our experienced A1 list judges and matched to ensure that mentees gain experience from people from different coats and sizes of Dachshund. Feedback from the mentors is given to the Breed Council to enable mentees to move up to the next tier or be placed onto an A2 Assessment when they are ready.
Receiving A2 list status
Once a candidate has met the criteria they are placed on the A3 List and proposed to the Kennel Club for the A2 List. When their name appears in the Kennel Gazette, they are promoted from the A3 to A2 List; a clear sign that they are ready for a CC appointment.
The Dachshund Breed Council feels strongly that assessments cannot just be show-based and that aspiring CC judges must demonstrate their competence by judging dogs that have also been judged by the Assessors. The A2 process is an essential element of our overall Breed Education Programme and one that we would encourage other breeds to make greater use of.
Current Kennel Club A2 list requirements can be found in the Manual for Kennel Club Registered Societies/Clubs which is available direct from the Kennel Club or via the Online shop.